Successful people follow a daily routine. Ernest Hemingway had one, so does Bill Gates.
Why? Because following a routine takes a guess work out of what you should be doing when. That leaves for time for the doing and the getting stuff done. If you're constantly putting your energy towards making decisions all day long, that doesn't leave a lot of room or mental willpower to get the tough things on your to-do list done.
This is why President Obama has a uniform. He told Vanity Fair:
"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," [Obama] said. "I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."
He also goes to the gym the same time every day and eats dinner with his family at the same time. There are, of course, exceptions, he is the president after all. But it's applicable to everyday lives and relatable even if you're not the commander-in-chief. You have stuff you need to get done, things are important to you (hitting the gym, eating dinner with your family, reading at night). You need to make time to get those things done, and planning to do them at the same time every day is a good way to ensure you actually get to them.
Why follow a personalized daily routine:
Have you ever had a really busy or stressful period in your life when things seem to go off the rails?
Days where you thought to yourself:
"Am I working on the right thing right now? Am I using my time wisely?"
Have you ever stopped exercising and cooking at home because I didn't think I have time for them? Have you ever decided to look at what you were spending time on all day, and discovered most of it was going to deciding what to do, and when to do it.
Then establishing a daily routine by planning out your days, including the things you dread doing, like running and laundry, and the things you love doing, like yoga and grocery shopping.
Cataloging what you need to get done and making it into a routine freed up the time you spend agonizing. Eventually it will also make things you don't like to do a lot easier because getting them done quickly and routinely became a habit.
Here's why daily routines work so well for most people:
1. They take decision-making out of the process.
Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social scientist and expert on success (in fact, she wrote a book called, appropriately, "Succeed") explains, "Routines remove the need to deliberate over what you should do when (which takes time and energy), because once you've established a routine you've already made those decisions."
2. They make actions automatic.
"Routines can become so automatic that we start performing them without realizing it," says Grant Halvorson, "so we get done what needs to get done, even when our minds are preoccupied with other things."
3. They save time.
They save time in the short run by removing the need to deliberate, and time in the long run because they automate these actions.
Here's how this works (using a very basic example):
Every time you go to put dinner on the table, you discover a sink full of dirty dishes. Now not only do you have to prepare a meal, you've got to roll up your sleeves to clean the dishes, empty the sink, and scrub the sink.
Then you still have to complete your original goal: preparing dinner.
You decide you've had enough and add cleaning dishes to your daily routine. This will involve loading the dishwasher at night and emptying the dishwasher in the morning.
The decision has been made! Every night, right before bed, you load the dishwasher, every morning, right before breakfast, you empty it. Repeat.
At first , you have to remind yourself to load and empty, but after a while it becomes automatic, freeing up your brain space to ponder more important matters.
Next, we talk about how to set up a daily routine that works for you.